Week 9 Picks

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Our best week for the season.  In week 8 we went 9-1 straight up!  But the place where you make money in Vegas (picking against lines) we were still under .500 at 4-6.  Picking against the spread is tough.  The one matchup we did get incorrect was the upset of the week.  That was the most spectacular of fails ever for our upset pick.  Clemson winning 58-0 over Miami was the furthest thing from an upset.  That game though means that person paying for Fire Al Golden banners over the Miami games can save some money now.

Week 8 was a pretty boring week.  There was the crazy ending for the Florida St.-Georgia Tech game.  Don’t ever turn your TV off when the last play of the game is a special teams play.  Utah fell from the ranks of the unbeaten but that wasn’t even an upset as USC was favored in the game.  Texas has a 2 game winning streak.  Ohio St. looks like it finally has settled on a starting QB going forward.  Maybe?  Clemson is clearly the class of the ACC and cannot lose if they want to make the playoff now that Florida St. has lost.  Texas A&M is doing their typical mid-season nose dive.  Missouri played in another game with a baseball score and lost again.  To Vanderbilt.  That’s not good.  Alabama pulled out a late one against Tennessee.  Talk about underachievers.  Tennessee keeps winning signing day though.  Pitt won on another last second field goal against Syracuse and might be the team Clemson faces in the ACC championship game.  Washington St. is having a bounce back season after that terrible opening game loss to Portland St.  The biggest new though might be that Baylor QB Seth Russell suffered a broken bone in his neck.  That could have a HUGE impact on Baylor.  Or maybe we find out that anyone can run that offensive machine Art Briles has instilled.  Oh, and Nebraska will finish the year without exactly 4 losses for the first time in forever.

Week 9 only has 1 top 25 match up.  Notre Dame and Temple!  Who would have thought that at the beginning of the year or even a couple weeks ago.  Of course 7 top 25 teams have a bye this week.  Scoring might be down across the leagues with big boys like Ohio St., Baylor, LSU, and Alabama sitting out this week.

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Teams on bye:  Indiana, Michigan St., Northwestern, Ohio St., Baylor, Kansas St., Alabama, LSU, Missouri, Mississippi St., Army, BYU, Middle Tennessee St., Bowling Green, Kent St., Northern Illinois, Ohio, Toledo, Fresno St., Nevada, New Mexico, San Jose St., South Alabama

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AT

#23 Pittsburgh (+3)[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”3/4″ css=”.vc_custom_1432672269878{border-right-width: 1px !important;}”][vc_column_text]

This is a game for supremacy in the ACC Coastal division.  Both UNC and Pitt are undefeated in conference play.  If it wasn’t for some untimely turnovers against South Carolina in the season opener, the Tar Heels would be undefeated.  Last year their problem was a historically bad defense.  If they just had a mediocre defense they would be in good shape.  This year they have that mediocre defense.  They actually have good defense ranking in the top 30 in many statistical categories.  Their offense remains potent at 7.43 yards per play and 38 ppg.  Pitt is doing it with defense and ball control this year.  Pitt controls the clock on offense at about 33 minutes per game (15th nationally).  If they can keep the Tar Heel offense off the field, then they have a chance to turn it into a game where North Carolina gets frustrated and tries to push the issue due to lack of possessions.  The home underdog wins a big Thursday game.  PICK: Pittsburgh 27, North Carolina 24

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AT

#5 TCU (-14)[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”3/4″][vc_column_text]

West Virginia started off the season strong against weak competition and that resulted them being ranked in the Top 25.  Once they started hitting conference season in the Big 12, they started to get exposed.  They are winless in conference play so far.  West Virginia has ranked 109th in the nation against conference competition in yards allowed per game.  That is going to be a problem in the Big 12.  That is going to be problem in the Big 12, on the road, against the #2 offense in the country.  TCU is #2 (behind #1 Baylor) in the nation in ppg at 50.  TCU is #2 (behind #1 Baylor) in yards per game at 616!!!  Don’t overthink this one.  It’s super strength versus weakness in this matchup.  Look for TCU to roll the Mountaineers.  PICK: TCU 55, West Virginia 28

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AT

Arizona St. (-2.5)[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”3/4″ css=”.vc_custom_1432672269878{border-right-width: 1px !important;}”][vc_column_text]

It’s been awhile since we have talked about Oregon.  They have completely fallen off the radar after losses to Utah and Washington St.  Their quarterback play really hurt them this year.  Vernon Adams has been hurt and hasn’t been that effective, and they have no capable backup.  They still have dynamic running back Royce Freeman, but defenses can stack the box against him since they don’t have to worry about the pass too much.  Oregon is still 6th in the nation in rushing, but are 42nd in the nation in scoring in conference play.  It’s  a strange combination.  Arizona St. is another team that has underachieved.  Many believed them to be a darkhorse Playoff contender before the year, but they had an opening week loss to Texas A&M and have inconsistent since.  Oregon has alternated wins and losses every single week this season.  Following that pattern they are due for a loss this week, but I think they will finally have their first 2 game winning streak of the year.  Oregon showed they can win on the road with a victory at Washington 2 weeks ago.  Oregon has just enough to win again on the road as Vernon Adams is a little more effective with his finger healing.  PICK: Oregon 30 Arizona St. 24

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AT

California (+6)[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”3/4″ css=”.vc_custom_1432672269878{border-right-width: 1px !important;}”][vc_column_text]

USC seems to be playing better for their interim coach.  The same thing happened when Lane Kiffin was fired a couple years ago.  The one think I get tired of hearing about is the depth issue at USC.  Stop already.  They have top line talent and they haven’t had major injury issues this year.  The only excuse they have is they didn’t play well in the games they lost.  Their talent showed through in the Utah game as they dominated the #3 team in the country.  They also looked good against Notre Dame even though they lost.  Cal is trending in the wrong direction.  After a strong start to the season and a top 25 ranking, they have lost 2 in a row.  Cal’s defense is still an issue.  They have now sunk to 92nd in the nation in total defense.  When Jared Goff has an off game, like he did against Utah, the defense can’t pick up the slack and carry a team to victory.  At this juncture in the season it feels like USC is starting to play up to their talent and Cal is starting to wilt a bit against tougher competition.  USC wins another for their interim head coach.  PICK: USC 35, California 27

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#11 Florida (-2.5)[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”3/4″ css=”.vc_custom_1432672269878{border-right-width: 1px !important;}”][vc_column_text]

The annual World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party.  This game is for the SEC east title essentially.  Every team in the division already has 3 conference losses besides Georgia and Florida.  Georgia has been struggling on offense lately.  They only scored 10 against Alabama, only 2 offensive touchdowns in their 31 points in a loss to Tennessee, and a paltry 9 points in a win against Missouri.  Florida has exceeded everyone’s expectations this year.  Florida fans were hoping for just bowl eligibility this year after some, let’s say difficult, years under Billy Muschamp.  Now they have visions of Atlanta dancing in their head.  They can basicaly clinch that with a win against Georgia.  Then if they can beat FSU, pull an upset in the SEC championship…oh, come on.  That won’t happen.  Will it?  Florida’s defense should keep Georgia struggling and the Gators will basically wrap up the SEC east with a win.  PICK: Florida 20, Georgia 10

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AT

 Minnesota (+14)[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”3/4″ css=”.vc_custom_1432672269878{border-right-width: 1px !important;}”][vc_column_text]

Ladies and Gents, we might just have another shutout by the hands of the Michigan defense again.  Minnesota has been struggling all season long to score points, but they may have turned a corner a couple weeks back after scoring 41 on Purdue and 25 against Nebraska.  The Gophers are going to have a hard time finding a win in the last 5 weeks of their schedule (Mich, OSU, Iowa, IL, Wisc).  Their head ball coach Jerry Kill just retired for health reasons.  Probably a good move on his part after all of those seizures.  Since Minnesota only puts an average of 20 pts on the board and Michigan only allows 9 pts, I’m thinking that Michigan will be just fine this week.  I can only imagine that Michigan is going to come out with their hair on fire after that brutal MSU loss.  Look for Michigan to stick to the run game since the Gophers aren’t the best upfront against the rush.  The Wolverines will control the clock and the game for the majority of this match up.  I don’t see any reason why Michigan won’t win and cover the 14 point spread.  PICK: Michigan 31 Minnesota 10

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AT

Kentucky (+7.5)[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”3/4″ css=”.vc_custom_1432672269878{border-right-width: 1px !important;}”][vc_column_text]

Tennessee HC Butch Jones should be shaking in his boots with this match up.  Not that they should lose the game, but of the possibility of losing this game.  If Tennessee doesn’t pull off the win, then get ready for the fans and alum to call for a little Butch Jones roasting.  I still think they’re a year away and no one should be fired.  There have been plenty of key injuries.  Anyhow, the Tennessee defense has been sporadic at best and so has the offense.  We really don’t know which team will show up on any given week.  That being said, the Vols are much better than Kentucky at this point.  On the flip side, Kentucky has been solid at home and god awful on the road.  Kentucky rises and falls with QB Towles.  He’s been ridiculously inconsistent all year.  I imagine he’ll have a decent game here against a lackluster Tennessee D, but just not enough to pull off the upset.  Tennessee wins by a TD. PICK: Tennessee 28 Kentucky 21

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AT

#21 Temple (+9.5)[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”3/4″ css=”.vc_custom_1432672269878{border-right-width: 1px !important;}”][vc_column_text]

College GameDay is headed to Temple, which is something I never thought I would see in a million years.  Philadelphia is going to be jacked up to face Notre Dame in their hometown with the spotlight shining down. Don’t be surprised if Temple pulls off a fast one here or at least makes it close.  Looking at this game with a broad stroke, you would see that Temple is going to struggle to score points against a talented Irish D.  They haven’t played anyone of note thus far.  The talent on the ND side will be far greater than anything they have seen.  I fully expect a great effort from Temple, but over time ND should walk away by a couple of TDs.  Temple is going to find it impossible to cover WR Wiilliam “Bill” Fuller, expect a few deep passes to open up that defense of Temple’s.  QB DeShone Kizer is coming into his own, and I like what ND has been doing this year.  Their only loss should be to Clemson and maybe Stanford later on in the year.  Notre Dame takes it by more than 10.  PICK: ND 34 Temple 23

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AT

Washington St. (+12)[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”3/4″ css=”.vc_custom_1432672269878{border-right-width: 1px !important;}”][vc_column_text]

This is the sneaky good game of the week.  Washington St. was thrown to the wolves after losing to Portland St in Week 1.  Now Washington St. is 4-2 and could make things very, very interesting for the PAC-12 is they win this game.  An interesting stat came out this week, and it goes a little something like this; Stanford has the PAC-12’s best offense, defense, passer, rusher, tackler, and all purpose player.  How did they lose to Northwestern in Week 1?  This doesn’t make Stanford a shoe-in for this game by any means.  Washington St. can keep up with anyone on offense with the Mike Leach system.  It’s almost a guarantee that Wash St. is going to keep the game within 10 pts either way and that about 80 pts will be put on the scoreboard.  I think that Stanford is getting better by the week, and both offense and defense have improved.  They will be the team that comes out of the PAC-12 and enters the Playoff.  Wash St. still gives a bit of a scare. PICK: Stanford 38 Washington St. 30

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UPSET OF THE WEEK!

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AT

Texas Tech (+3)[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”3/4″ css=”.vc_custom_1432672269878{border-right-width: 1px !important;}”][vc_column_text]

For our upset pick of the week, we’re going after OK State – strange and boring things can happen in Lubbock.  BTW, I feel like I’m due here with this pick.  I went after Utah for 2 weeks and got them wrong, only for them to lose the next week to USC.  Then last week I did nothing to redeem reputation in the upset lane by picking Clemson to lose to Miami.  I’ve never been so wrong about something in my whole life.  Texas Tech should have won that TCU game (an upset pick I had and had it torn away it awful fashion) and this smells of another game that Tech should make close and maybe pull off the big W at home.  OK State has been dancing with the devil with their conference games, from the Texas botched punt give away, to the K-State “here ya go have a win” game.  Their time is up in Week 9.  TT QB Mahomes is gonna have a fantastic game and take this thing home.  If OK State loses this game then you could see a rough end to the season with TCU, Baylor, and OU left to play.  Those of you with OK State might wanna duck and squint the rest of the way.  Tech bounces back from an embarrassing loss to OU.  PICK: Texas Tech 45 OK State 41

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Season Record – Straight Up: 48-32

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Season Record – Versus Spread: 27-50-3

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Upset of the Week: 3-5

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